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Vince establishes credentials with defiant knock

November 24, 2017

BRISBANE: James Vince is confident the Australian cricket critics will recognize him after the first day of the Ashes.

England came into the series with an unsettled batting order apart from veteran opener Alastair Cook and skipper Joe Root.

Former Australia Test batsman and now commentator Matthew Hayden created a stir when he said he didn’t know anything about most of them.

Vince defied Australia’s much-vaunted pace attack for most of the opening day of the series, scoring 83 almost double his previous high score in Test cricket before he was dismissed in a play-of-the-day style run out by Nathan Lyon.

Still, the match was evenly poised with England reaching 196-4 at stumps.

“If he didn’t know who we were at the start of the day, then probably does now,” Vince said in response to Hayden’s observations. “I think reading comments like that almost gives you an extra incentive to go out there and try and make a statement.

“There’s a bit of chat around and I’ve had stuff since I’ve got called up after my last effort at Test cricket it gives you a bit more inspiration and bit more fight to go out there and prove people wrong.”

The 26-year-old right-hander conceded he was a little surprised to get a recall for the Ashes tour after scoring at an average of 19.27 in his 11 Test innings in 2016 all in England. He was dropped after scoring 1 and 0 in a Test against Pakistan in August last year.

Vince was well established, having survived just once chance on 68 when wicket-keeper Tim Paine put down a chance off Lyon’s bowling, when he took off for a poor-judged single.

Lyon ran from cover, fielded a half-volley and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Vince well short of his ground.

“In hindsight I wouldn’t have taken the run, but it was a good pick up and throw to be fair,” Vince said. “Lyon bowled pretty well and deserved something from the day.”

A century may have eluded him, but Vince wasn’t disappointed with his performance on a day when he went to the wicket in the third over at the fall of ex-skipper Cook’s wicket. He shared a 125-run stand with Mark Stoneman (53) and batted for four hours on a soft wicket in front of more than 35,000 spectators at the Gabba, where England haven’t won a Test match since 1986.

“It’s disappointing, obviously no matter what score a batter gets he wants to score more,” he said. “It would have been nice to have been there at the end of the day, but stuff like that happens in cricket.

“I’m sure lying in bed I’ll have a few thoughts about [missing out a century] but at the same time at the start of the day if you offered me scoring 80-odd I probably would have taken it. So I’ll look at the positives.”

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2017